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The InclusIve Workplace Employer Guide to Reasonable Accommodations using Assistive Technologies for Employees with Disabilities Your Technical assistance and Training resource “Ms. lacy is a dedicated employee … contributes to continuous quality improvements … brings a unique and valuable perspective to our discussions.” ronna linroth, Manager adult outpatient services, MIke DreIer, Administrator Gillette lifetime specialty healthcare Minnesota Independent Living Services (MILS), Minneapolis, MN assIsTIve TechnoloGIes: Large trackball MIchelle lacY, Receptionist Scheduler Assistant, Pre-form cuffs Gillette Lifetime Specialty Healthcare, St. Paul, MN (to hold a pencil with eraser, used to type) assIsTIve TechnoloGIes: Specialized keyboards, mouse, and headset; lamp to signal that she is on the phone, and a lap tray that goes on her wheelchair. Table of conTenTs The Case for Productivity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 1 Debunking the Myths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 3 Template for Assistive Technology Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 5 Technologies by Function . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 7 Assistive Technology Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 10 The Case for “after my company incorporated low cost assistive technologies proDucTIvITY so that I could be more productive, other employees here began using them, making the entire organization more productive.” More for Less Dara Grimmer If you’re using glasses to read this Guide, you’re using assis- tive technology. While most eye glasses are not considered a disability-related assistive technology, the simple truth is that all of us increasingly use technology to maximize productiv- The InclusIve WorkplAce: Assistive Technologies ity. people with disabilities often use assistive technologies which contribute to a more productive workplace, creating a win-win return on investment. The Business Case With increased competition for quality talent, expanding the Disability: pool of qualified candidates is critical to success and is a hot A physical or mental hr topic. Martha Artiles, chief Diversity officer, Manpower impairment that Inc., offers this important trend: “numbers are numbers – we substantially limits Dara GrIMMer, Customer Service Representative, one or more major clearly have a population that is ready for retirement and a Northern Sun Merchandising, Minneapolis, MN life activities. group of younger people too small to replace them.” From sheer demographics to job readiness, employee loyalty and what culture change means for the workplace, inclusiveness assIsTIve TechnoloGIes: Major life has become a business imperative. Keyboard setup ($60), activities highlighters (under $10), 1 2 Basic activities, The Common Sense including working, Excel spreadsheet and performing manual Diversity refers to workforce demographics and employee spell check (part of MS Office), tasks, walking, seeing, characteristics. Inclusion initiatives increase employee clipboards (under $15), hearing, speaking, engagement and loyalty. Turnover costs range from 90% to headset (under $50), breathing, learning, 200% of salary (society of human resource Management). extra note pads (under $10). caring for oneself, retaining key talent is of great concern for employers. reading, bending, “The total came well communicating and The employment and Disability Institute at cornell university under $150 for me bodily functions that published tools to help build inclusive workplaces. Disabil- and others benefitted the average person ity and HR: Tips for Human Resource Professionals (www.ilr. too” says Dara. can perform with little cornell.edu/edi/hr_tips/home.cfm) includes a comprehensive or no difficulty. section on Assistive Technologies. Assistive Technologies: Any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, “60% of new jobs in the united states will require skills or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional held by only 20% of the current workforce.” capabilities of individuals with disabilities. bureau of labor statistics Debunking the myth: employee will feel entitled to special treatment, creating MYThs a morale problem at work The InclusIve WorkplAce: Assistive Technologies fact: According to the society for human resource Management, 79% of businesses report improved corporate culture resulting from the presence of myth: There will be performance issues if I hire someone who has employees with disabilities in the workplace. similar findings are confirmed by a a disability study by the Job Accommodation network. fact: The performance of workers with disabilities is equal or better than that of their non-disabled peers. According to a Dupont survey, “… of 811 employees with disabilities … 90% rated average or better in myth: Accommodations are too costly job performance….”. (www.doleta.gov/disability/htmldocs/myths.cfm) fact: For every dollar spent on accommodations, companies received over $10 (Job Accommodation network) and up to $28 (u.s. Department of labor) in benefits. “When asked how much they paid for an accommodation beyond what myth: employees with disabilities will sue if employment does not work out they would have paid for an employee without a disability who was in the same fact: According to the u.s. Department of Justice, “the Americans with position, employers typically answered around $320.” (JAn, August 31, 2009, Disabilities Act has resulted in a surprisingly small number of lawsuits.” Workplace Accommodations: low cost, high Impact. http://janweb.icdi.wvu. (www.ada.gov/pubs/mythfct.txt) edu/new/index.htm) Further, this study confirms that many accommodations cost nothing at all. 3 4 myth: Absenteeism of employees with disabilities will be higher fact: “employees who have disabilities demonstrate high levels of loyalty and engagement on the job, resulting in lower turnover and absenteeism.” Reasonable Accommodation: Any change in the work (Minnesota Department of employment and economic Development) environment or in the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to participate in the application process, to perform the essential functions (or fundamental duties) of a job, or to enjoy equal ben- myth: There will be safety issues in the workplace, and safety issues in efits and privileges of employment that are available to individuals without terms of emergency evacuation. disabilities. Accommodations help employers not only hire new workers fact: According to an equal employment opportunity commission study, with disabilities, but also keep workers who may become disabled. “the safety and attendance records of employees with disabilities exceed (Office of Disability Employment Policy. Feb. 2009. The Job Accommodation the norm.” Process: Steps to Collaborative Solutions.) assIsTIve Template for building a culture of Inclusiveness TechnoloGY Planning >> reasonable accommodations allow all employees to be their most productive selves, which builds current best practices* to identify appropriate job success for the entire organization. accommodations: >> When businesses encourage employees to make 1. Identify employee’s abilities, needs, and personal reasonable accommodations requests, the result preferences is an inclusive and disability-friendly work environ- The InclusIve WorkplAce: Assistive Technologies 2. Identify and analyze the work environment ment and corporate culture which fosters creativity, 3. Identify and analyze the work task(s) innovation, and solid measurable outcomes. 4. Identify and consider assistive technology solutions >> reasonable accommodations are the right thing to 5. Identify training and support needs (if any) do. They are a business imperative for success. associated with implementing assistive technology in the workplace. >> Take the first step: communicate to all employees that your organization is willing to make reasonable accommodations when requested. It is a matter of For an information systems perspective on developing an Accessible Technology plan: www.microsoft.com/enable/business/plan.aspx. productivity. It makes business sense. For types of assistive technology products: www.microsoft.com/en- Source: Joan Willshire, Executive Director, able/at/types.aspx. Minnesota State Council on Disability * Adapted from the seTT Framework by Joy Zabala, ed.D., ATp. For 5 more information, email email@example.com. 6 Employers may be eligible for $2,400 to $15,000 in tax credits. These tax credits are available to help employers cover the cost of accommodations for employees with disabilities and to make workplaces accessible. Visit the Internal Revenue Service’s sTeve oachs, Technology Assistant website (www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=185704,00.html) Southern Minnesota Independent Living and consult with your tax advisor. Enterprise and Services (SMILES), Mankato, MN Seeing, Reading - screen reader software sheIla nelson, Payroll Services - refreshable Braille display Minnesota Independent Living Services - screen magnification software - computer scanner with ocr software - handheld or desktop magnifier - large print/Braille - stand alone reading machine (desktop or handheld) - Talking devices such as tape measure, scale, calculator, cash register The InclusIve WorkplAce: Assistive Technologies Hearing - communication device - Text messaging and email - cArT services (computer-Assisted realtime Technology) - videophone, TTY, capTel phone - captioning/subtitles - computer settings to provide visual alert - Mirrors Technologies by - Flashing light and/or vibrating alerts (fire/smoke alarms) funcTIon Speaking, Communicating - pen/paper some examples of assistive technologies commonly used to complete - communication devices work-related tasks: - speech-to-speech relay service 7 Walking, Standing, Performing Manual Tasks, Lifting, Bending Learning, Cognition, Concentrating, Thinking, Interacting 8 - height adjustable workstation or desk with Others - page turners, book holders - checklists, text or photo guides - Grips for writing tools and handheld equipment - Multisensory task-promoting device (handheld pc, ipod) - Accessible file system - Templates, guides or jigs - voice activated phones, copy machines - portable music player with headset - ergonomic keyboards and mice, one-handed keyboard, onscreen - natural or full-spectrum lighting in work area keyboard with switch access, speech recognition software - color overlays (such as Irlen lenses) or color contrast - related: Automatic door opener, accessible parking, work site, - calculator restrooms - Wide-lined paper, column guides - portable keyboard (such as an Alphasmart) or mobile device (handheld computer, tablet pc) [using assistive technologies,] “cat’s productivity has in- creased dramatically … cat may not have sight, but she has a Assistive Technology tenacious desire to overcome the obstacles put before her.” resources lane s. Waters, american council of the blind, brooklyn center, Mn FUNDING RESOURCES While several of the locAl and nATIonAl resources listed in this section provide funding, either directly or through referrals (identified with the [$] symbol), the Minnesota sTAr program publishes a Directory of The InclusIve WorkplAce: Assistive Technologies Funding and Assistive Technology resources in Minnesota. To download the latest edition, follow this link: www.starprogram.state.mn.us/funding_directory.htm These services and organizations provide a wide array of assistive technologies and disability employment services. LOCAL RESOURCES Pathways to Employment (PTE): www.positivelyminnesota.com/pte Increases competitive employment of people with disabilities and caTalIna roIsuM, Accountant, American meets Minnesota’s workforce needs by bringing together people with Council of the Blind, Brooklyn Center, MN disabilities, employers, businesses, government and providers. 9 6 10 Minnesota State Council on Disability: www.disability.state.mn.us Your technical assistance and training resource assIsTIve TechnoloGIes: Brilliant Adacell Braille Display Talking calculator Jaws screen reader Kurzweil 1000 keyboard www.whatcanyoudocampaign.org Duxburry Braille Translating software funded by the u.s. Department of labor, the What Can YOU Do? Juliet Classic Embosser Braille printer web site is the centerpiece of the Campaign for Disability Employment, which seeks to promote positive employment outcomes for people with disabilities. Minnesota STAR Program: www.starprogram.state.mn.us Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities: Your assistive technology state resource provides device www.mnddc.org demonstrations, device loans, information and assistance, and more. promotes independence, productivity, self-determination, integration and inclusion. Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development: Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans: Business Services: www.positivelyminnesota.com/business www.mncdhh.org/ Business development services help companies expand or Advocates for equality of opportunity for Minnesotans who are deaf, relocate in Minnesota, find and train employees, promote deafblind, and hard of hearing. The InclusIve WorkplAce: Assistive Technologies international trade, and finance business expansions. AgrAbility of Minnesota: http://safety.cfans.umn.edu/map [$] Minnesota Job Skills Partnership (MJSP): helps farm and agriculture professionals work safely and independently. www.positivelyminnesota.com/mjsp strategically helps Minnesota businesses and schools Disability Minnesota: www.mndisability.gov competitively train the workforce. Your gateway for disability related information in Minnesota. Training/retaining employees: [$] EquipALife (ATMn): www.equipalife.org http://www.iseek.org/trc/businesses.html provides access to equipment, financial assistance, education, information Your employment training and retaining employee resource. and resources. [$] Veteran Services: www.positivelyminnesota.com/veterans Minnesota Business Leadership Network: www.mnbln.org Your business resource for hiring veterans. An employer-led endeavor that promotes best employment practices and enhances competitive employment opportunities for skilled candidates [$] Vocational Rehabilitation Services: with disabilities. www.positivelyminnesota.com/disabilities 11 12 provides assistance to people with disabilities who need our Minnesota Regional Assistive Technology Collaborative: services to prepare for work, or to find and keep a job. www.equipalife.org/regional-assistance/ A statewide partnership of providers specializing in adaptive equipment, Minnesota Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division: services and related support. www.dhhsd.org provides a variety of services and maintains an adaptive Simon Technology Center (PACER): www.pacer.org/stc/services.asp communication equipment loan program for employees. provides children and adults with disabilities the opportunity to try a variety of software and assistive technology devices. Minnesota State Services for the Blind: www.mnssb.org/workingadults/index.html rehabilitation services for persons who are blind, visually impaired, or DeafBlind prepare for, seek, retain and regain employment. “having a videophone on my desk is very valuable for me NATIONAL RESOURCES because I have equal access to communication with my colleagues. When I need to correspond with some people The Job Accommodation Network (JAN): www.jan.wvu.edu outside the workplace, there is no need to accommodate Your resource for workplace productivity enhancements and reasonable my schedule with the staff interpreter, because profes- accommodation solutions. sional interpreters are available just a click away on the videophone!” Disability and HR: Tips for Human Resource Professionals: emily burke www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/hr_tips/home.cfm providing tools to help hr professionals build inclusive workplaces. The InclusIve WorkplAce: Assistive Technologies [$] Tax Benefits for Businesses that have Employees with Disabilities: www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=185704,00.html provides information on tax credits and deductions for businesses that hire people with disabilities. Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers – Great Lakes ADA Center: www.adagreatlakes.org provides information, problem solving assistance and referrals for imple- menting the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other related laws. [$] Social Security Administration - Ticket to Work: www.cessi.net/ttw Allows employers who register and hire people with disabilities who are eMIlY burke, School Psychologist receiving social security disability benefits to receive up to $20,000 for and 13 every employee they hire who leaves the social security rolls. 14 lIsa WasIloWskI, School Counselor (on screen) Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf, Faribault, MN Employer Assistance & Resource Network (EARN): www.earnworks.com provides employers with free consulting services and resources. see also www.earnworks.com/Businesscase “I do not see these devices as assistive technology. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): www.ada.gov These devices are the coolest and latest technology Your information and technical assistance on the Americans with gadgets that happen to be accessible for deaf and Disabilities Act. hard of hearing individuals! These gadgets prove to be functional and equally accessible so I can be on the same page as my hearing colleagues.” lisa Wasilowski Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy: www.dol.gov/odep provides national leadership on disability employment policies and practices, building collaborative partnerships, and delivering authorita- tive and credible data on employment of people with disabilities. US Business Leadership Network: www.usbln.org national business organization using a “business to business” strategy to promote the business imperative of including people with disabili- The InclusIve WorkplAce: Assistive Technologies ties in the workforce. SOURCES JuDITh frIesen, County Assessor, The sources of information contained in this Guide include those listed Brown County, New Ulm, MN under “Debunking the Myths,” the organizations listed under “Assistive Technology resources,” and the additional sources listed below. www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/902sum.html assIsTIve TechnoloGIes: 15 Keys-U-see keyboard, 16 20 u.s.c. chapter 33, section 1401 (25) Large format monitor, Big Shot computer magnifier program, www.ada-il.org/resources Logitech Trackman Track Ball Mouse, Regular magnifying glass, Tabletop CCTV This document is available in alternative format. see MscoD contact information on back page. “When reading you can make up The latest version of this publication is available a few words and get by, but you online at www.disability.state.mn.us can’t make up numbers. Tech- nology helped me keep my job.” photography: Doug knutson This document was prepared with support from a competitive employment systems—Medicaid Infrastructure Grant from the centers for Medicare and Medicaid services to Minnesota’s Department of human services (Grant # 1QAcMs030325). The funds for this grant were authorized through the Ticket to Work –Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 (public law 106-170). catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance 93768. Your Technical assistance and Training resource 121 E. 7th Place, Suite 107, St. Paul, MN 55101 651.361.7800 | 651.296.5935 fax | 800.945-8913 voice/tty www.disability.state.mn.us lorIann Doane, Intervener at the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf in Faribault, MN, working with student JorDen curran.
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